An archive is a receiving institution which means that it acquires the inactive records of its parent organization and is a repository for historical information on that organization. Archives, in addition to maintaining the records of its parent organization, may collect documents related to a theme or area of interest (e.g. history of a region, theater or religion) and serve as the place where research can be done to learn more about the organization or its affiliated collectionsA library is a collecting institution meaning it gathers published material from a variety of places to serve the informational needs of its patrons. Libraries do not only rely upon information from their parent organization.
In an archive, information is organized according to collections that follow the principle of original order; that is, a collection should be organized according to how the creator or collecting entity arranged the documents in the collection. This is done because, while documents provide the content of a collection, the principle of original order provides the context for a collection. If there is no original order to a collection, then the archivists will organize the collection according to a method that makes the most sense. This method could be by document type, alphabetically or chronologically.
A finding aid is a document that provides a description of a collection and its contents. It includes:
Types of Archives
The Tasks of an Archivist
Archivists' Code of Ethics
(Society of American Archivists approval given in February 2005 and revised January 2012.)
See also: American Historical Association and Society of American Archivists
Drexel University. “The Basics: Frequently Asked Questions About Archives.”
Harvard University. “Frequently Asked Questions.”
https://college.harvard.edu/resources/faq (Last Modified March 23, 2022).
O'Toole, James M. and Richard J. Cox. Understanding Archives and Manuscripts. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2006.
Pugh, Mary Jo. Providing Reference Services for Archives and Manuscripts. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2005.
Schmidt, Laura. Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research. Society of American Archivists, 2011. http://www2.archivists.org/sites/all/files/UsingArchives_Final.pdf (accessed October 7, 2014).
Society of American Archivists. "A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology." http://www2.archivists.org/glossary (accessed on October 17, 2014).
Society of American Archivists. "SAA Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics." http://www2.archivists.org/statements/saa-core-values-statement-and-code-of-ethics (accessed October 7, 2014).